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Xmas presents to change your life in 2023

Christmas book

Team Training Christmas Book List:

If you are looking for that last stocking filler for someone, or you have relatives asking what you would like for Christmas, we would wholeheartedly recommend any of the following books.

The following books have all had profound effects on Paul and I, and below we will explain why we think these books will transform your life should you choose to read them.

1.   The Comfort Crisis – Michael Easter

“The Comfort Crisis – Embrace discomfort to reclaim your wild happy and healthy self.”  


The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter is the first book I recommend everybody reads whenever they come to me for help. Life has never been so easy. Even if we think we’ve got it tough, the way we live now is incomparable to that of our ancestors and yet we never seem content or happy. The irony, and what this book helps us to realise, is that the more we face struggle and discomfort, the happier we will become.


I read this book in preparation for my first HYROX fitness competition.  This book travels with the author on his journey to Alaska to spend time in dangerous conditions hunting, to try to get back to grips with the way we used to live.  Personally as someone who likes staying home and online shopping it was not an appealing subject matter.  This book is so well written though, it has you completely hooked, not only on the adventure, but the science and anecdotal evidence for why there may be a different way to approach life is fascinating. 

I certainly learnt a lot from this book and during my reading time I felt inspired to challenge myself more too.  This is a great book for someone stuck in the rut of a comfort zone or anyone wanting to grow and maximise their potential in life.

2.  The Big Leap – Gay Hendricks

“The Big Leap – Conquer your hidden fear and take life to the next level.”


This book really resonated with me since pretty much every time I am doing great either in a diet, a job, a relationship or an exercise program….. in fact, with most things before I read this book, I tended to do something to sabotage myself.  This really is a great book for those serial quitters or self saboteurs amongst us.  The book narrows down your upper limit level to one of four reasons.  

  1. That you feel fundamentally flawed.
  2. You worry about having to leave people behind as you progress
  3. You worry that more success means more burden
  4. The fear that you will outshine those around you.

I would recommend this book as one of the better “self help’ books, because it helps you learn how to transcend your limiting behaviours.  I listened to this on audio book, and as with many of these great books, it is really helpful to keep revisiting them, re reading them and rebooting yourself on an annual basis.

3.   Atomic Habits – James Clear

“Atomic Habits – An easy & proven way to build good habits and break bad ones.”


This is a book about removing bad habits and building great new ones. To use an example from my world of health and fitness, you are never going to become the best version of yourself by going on a 12 week diet and exercise plan. You will become the best person you can be by ditching your old, tiresome, draining bad habits and replacing them with the behaviours of somebody who does what it takes to become great. James Clear shows us how easy it is to get started.


I listened to this on audio book while dog walking – which is a great use of time by the way – and a magnificent habit stack!  The book is great and gives loads of golden nuggets like:

  1. The habit score card
  2. Pointing & calling
  3. Habit stacking
  4. The goldilocks rule
  5. Changing who you identify as

I realised while listening to the book that when it comes to exercise I am already using loads of the great habit ideas without knowing.  I do “just turn up,”  I also have things I enjoy associated with going to the gym:  like eating a banana and drinking a warm lemon sherbet pre workout drink on the way.  I really enjoy this and in order to do it I have to drive to the gym.  The key is, with all of these great books with great ideas, to make sure you apply them, very simply and very slowly to the areas in your life where you really need to make some great changes. 

4.   Why We Sleep – Matthew Walker

“Why We Sleep – The New Science of Sleep and Dreams”


Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is a book I advise people to read whenever they come to me for help with health, fitness and weight loss. Sleep is the foundation of everything and a lack of or poor quality sleep will hold you back in every area of your life. Since reading this book I have transformed my sleeping habits and I have never felt or performed better.


There seems to be a bit of a badge of honour sometimes with some people being quite proud of how little sleep they can get away with – almost as if they think they are super human for sleeping less than other people.   The truth is that after reading this book, you will soon come to realise that you are not getting away with anything.  Sleeping is imperative to obtain optimal health and has huge benefits for the following:  

Stress management

Weight management

Immunity fro disease

Repair and healing

Reduction of inflammation

Brain function

Blood pressure regulation

Mental health, depression & anxiety

Athletic performance

Since reading this book Paul and I made a conscious decision to sleep in separate beds – which I have to say is fantastic for sleep quality.  Anyone putting up with a noisy, snoring partner to make them feel loved, while in turn suffering dreadful sleep and possible weight gain and worse still depression or anxiety – it is just not worth it!  For sleep during the peri menopause and menopause I also imagine this is quite fantastic too.  I have not suffered night sweats yet – but maybe the reason is, that I am not worrying about the embarrassment of this happening while in bed with someone – which keeps me nice and calm and deep in my sweat free slumber?

5.   Loving What Is – Byron Katie

“Loving What Is – Four Questions That Can Change Your Life”


I would never force Paul to read this one,  and in a million years he never would!  However this book demonstrates a powerful, simple and a great basic CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) technique that you can take with you everywhere. 

If you are someone who battles daily against negative self talk and irrational thoughts – these 4 questions can literally be life changing and so easy to implement.  I listened to this book on audio and it has so many real life case studies that help you to work through the questions in various scenarios.  It is very American and recorded at a live stage show….. but I definitely had many life changing revelations while listening to the almost hypnotic questions over and over again.

I would really recommend this if you are the person who thinks that everyone is talking negatively about you, or everyone in the gym is looking at how unfit or fat you are, and that everyone is so much luckier and has it so much easier than you.  I would imagine for children of critical parents this book is a game changer.

6.   Can’t Hurt Me – David Goggins

“Can’t Hurt Me – Master Your Mind and Defy The Odds”


Can’t Hurt Me is a book I believe every driven person should read. What this man has been through and continues to put himself through are things that most of us cannot even imagine. He helps us realise that whatever we want in this world is down to YOU and YOU alone. Whatever has happened to you is in the past is in the past and the only way forward is to get on with it. After reading Can’t Hurt Me I will never complain or blame again.

7.  The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – Deepak Chopra

“The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success – seven simple guiding principles to help you achieve your dreams”


What an absolute delight this book is.  It is comforting, soothing and inspiring.  If you are feeling lost and low then this book is a real pick me up.  The most wonderful thing about spiritual laws is that they are for everyone, and anyone can learn to apply them in life.  

The seven laws are:

  1. Pure potentiality
  2. Giving
  3. Karma
  4. Least effort
  5. Intention & desire
  6. Detachment
  7. Dharma

This book is easy to understand and makes the concepts really simple to grasp and apply.  I have found this book so reassuring when I have been in a more troubled state of mind.  To simply live by the spiritual rules will see anyone take themselves to the happiest of places and once again, this book is ideal to revisit year after year to keep yourself positive, humble and grateful.

8.   The Hacking of The American Mind – Robert H Lustig

“The Hacking of the American Mind – The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains”


The Hacking of the American Mind is a book that really brought home to me how much “the system” is set up to take our money and fool us into what makes us happy. Pleasure and happiness are two distinctly different things; the first drives addiction, the second is all you need in life. This book helped me to go after what makes me happy.

9.  The Telomere Effect – Elizabeth Blackburn PHD & Elissa Epel PHD

“The Telomere Effect – A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer”


This is literally the book that I have just finished, and it has made it into the list, because for a science book, it makes the revolutionary findings within it manageable, relatable and most importantly understandable. 

A telomere is the structure at the end of a chromosome – like the toggle on the end of a shoe lace.  The book details the very recent discovery that the length of a persons telomeres correlates directly how quickly you are aging.  The shorter your telomeres are the older you look and feel. 

The book goes on, chapter by chapter to explain the different life factors that shorten your telomeres and what you can do, to not only stop them shortening, but also to lengthen them and reverse the aging process! – powerful stuff and not a monthly subscription to collagen powder insight!

I love any factual book that proves yet again, the things that we already really know, but most people still choose to ignore……exercise, sleep, hydration, nutrition, fasting and managing stress are of course key to not only living longer, happier, healthy lives but also ….and this may be what makes people take note….. not getting grey and looking far younger than their age. 

10.   Gurdjieff – A Beginners Guide – Gil Friedman

“Gurdjieff, A Beginner’s Guide –  How Changing The Way We React To Misplacing Our Keys Can Transform Our Lives”


Have you ever heard of “the work?”  If ever life is in a really bad place, negativity surrounds in abundance, really bad things have happened to you and you are angry, critical and want to blame other people for your dire situation…….it may be time to do “the work.”

Once again because this book is so long it may be better to listen to on audio first, and definitely stick with it through the first hour and you will be rewarded with some of the greatest golden nuggets that I have ever heard.

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (1877–1949) was a spiritual teacher, regarded by his followers as an enlightened master.  He believed that many people live in a state of hypnotic “waking sleep.”  

If you are someone who is stuck in the daily conveyor belt of work, wine to relax, work, weekend to eat and drink to relax, to take your mind off next week back at work, then more work to get more money to go on holiday to take your mind off next month back at work, then it may well be that there should be more to your life?

This book is great for helping you to realise that life as you know may not even be close to real quality living.  The pursuit of pleasure to pacify the monotony of the pursuit really gets unravelled in this great, easy to understand spiritual breakdown of some of the most profound philosophical teachings

The law of three

Inner states vs external events

You have a choice how you react

The enneagram and personas

Accident and fate

These are just a few of the powerful teachings that I can remember.  This book is great for someone who is on a real voyage of self discovery and wanting to grow as a person.  I read it when I was doing my counselling qualifications and in a real period of self growth after my divorce.  It is great if you are able to self -reflect and be honest with yourself about your vulnerabilities – any narcissists out there – I really would not bother with this one!

So there you have it – last year we recommended some great Christmas gifts like smoothie makers and hiking gear – this year it is all about the present of knowledge.  The gift of knowledge  is the greatest gift that you can give or receive, and knowing this just goes to show how much we have both grown in the last year too!

Lots of love for a Happy Christmas.

Catherine & Paul xx